Michigan has surprised us with strong winds, most often directly ahead. With fully loaded touring bikes, winds make an especially large difference. Our average speeds have gone down substantially, meaning daily mileage as low as 55 km, other days we have been doing 100-130 km. This state might have unfriendly winds, but the friendliness of the Michigan people have totally compensated for that fact. Among the friendly people we have met is Steven. We met him in a park in Alma, where he was hanging out with his wife and grandkids. They were on a TET tandem, with the grandkids on tow in separate wagons. Quite a train! It turned out Steven was one the organizers of all the efforts in maintaining the Fred Meijer Heartland RailTrail. He and all his fellow volunteers sure have been doing a great job. This long trail from Alma to Greenville has been the best railtrail experience sofar. Perfect pavement, with toilets and benches along the way. We were able to join Steven for a beer and we even accidentally met again down the trail for some food and a new beer. This is what happens after days of fighting Michigan winds and not to forget Michigan sized breakfast and dinnerplates. Food knocked me, even us all out. On our way to Muskegon we met with this friendly cowboy, Buck Wells. He turned around to catch up with us, to have a chat over our adventure and other more important aspects of life in general and Racoon dicks in particular. He has the bone from one hanging from his handlebar on his scooter. Meeting Buck was definately one of the highlight of the day. We ended our Michigan experience today, with a 40 km ride from Crockery Creek Campsite to Muskegon Ferry Terminal. We were up 5.30 this morning and on the road by 7.00. Quick rainshowers soaked us already from the get go, but the warm ambient temperatures and later the sun, soon dried us up. After a 2 1/2 hour boatride we landed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sadly we did not have much time to spend in a city that really tickled my fancy. There is something that I would like to come back to and experience more of here. One stop made here today was with The Bike Fixers, http://www.thebikefixers.com. We were very kindly helped by Derrick. He works in the front of the store and he also works with custom bikebuilding at Schlick Cycles, http://www.schlickcycles.com. A great guy to talk to, competent and without any stupid annoying arrogance. He tipped us with http://www.hint.fm/wind/, a great source for assessing wind in this country. After Michigan this source of information will be used for all it’s worth:)
After our time with Derrick, we rode back downtown to the Amtrak station. We are taking the train down to Chicago. Sharyn, Lynda’s sister has kindly let us use her apartment downtown Chicago for a few days. We have been on the road now for 22 days, 21 of which we have been riding. We all need some time off the bikes now, before we take on the midwest. Some rest, some repairs and some restocking of provisons are needed. I am also in need of a haircut and some trimming of my beard. Amtrak requires bikes to be boxed up before shipment. I also got my very first flat tire today, after having ridden about 1700 km, it happens right outside the trainstation. Perfect timing really:) Next stop Chicago! If anyone thinks we are cheating by doing a trainride, I can inform you that we are actually adding to the total mileage by doing what we are doing.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about us making fame in the local newspaper in Greenville! Here’s the story as told by their journalist Brad Klosner:
Until next update! Peace Profound!